Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Blue Begonia of Borneo


Saw this iridescent blue Begonia growing in the shady limestone forest of Borneo, apparently still undescribed. This colour is not due to pigments but special chloroplasts called iridoplasts having fibrils arranged linearly, hence reflecting a narrow range of wavelength of light.

Limestone areas are rich in herbaceous flora like this, carving a niche for themselves away from more robust plants elsewhere. As a result, many of these herbs have very restricted distribution and are vulnerable to habitat destruction.

Added notes: This plant has only recently been described as Begonia kuchingensis Taiwania 62(2): 105, 2017. That's a full 9 years after we first saw it.


http://tai2.ntu.edu.tw/taiwania/pdf/tai.2017.62.105.pdf

5 comments:

Claude said...

Hello... you had left a comment on my blog about a month ago, and I just got around to stopping by... Wish I'd come by earlier, as you have some stunning pics! I'll be checking in more often...

Claude

Kanak Hagjer said...

That's an interesting plant with an unusual colour. Great post.

Hort Log said...

Thanks for dropping by.

btw Kanak, the colour changes when you tilt the leaves - from shiny blue green to a brighter green hue, and if you use a flash, the subtle effect will be flushed out. Not easy to capture the essence in the dark jungle where this guy was seen.

Peter said...

Nice pictures. I myself found B. pendula near Bau. I took some pictures there.

Peter said...

nice photos.

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